District of Columbia Planning Office Initiative | Venable LLP

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As part of its efforts to implement the changes outlined in the 2021 Comprehensive Plan Update, the District of Columbia (OP) Planning Office has undertaken several initiatives. These are at various stages of the planning process and focus on specific areas within the district. We have provided summaries of each of these efforts below.

Congress Heights Small Area Plan

The Congress Heights Small Area Plan (SAP) aims to guide development in response to the recent increase in investment in the area. PAS supports increasing the zoning designation along the Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave. SE to support medium-density mixed-use development, as well as zoning changes and infill development of underutilized, vacant, and institutional sites to allow for a greater variety of homeownership opportunities in residential neighborhoods. SAP’s draft can be viewed on the Engage DC webpage. OP is holding a public meeting at 6:00 p.m. on July 27, 2022 at the RISE Center to discuss the draft plan. Public comments on SAP’s draft can be submitted online or by mail until July 31. After the public comment period, OP will submit the final Congress SAP to the Board for approval.

Chevrolet Chase SAP

The Chevy Chase SAP was completed to meet the housing needs of the area and includes design guidelines to ensure future development is consistent and compatible with existing structures. To implement the SAP recommendations, OP suggests creating a new zone for the mixed-use area along Connecticut Avenue that would incorporate the design guidelines as development standards. The new area would also allow for higher density development than is permitted along the corridor under current zoning regulations. Additionally, to help meet DC’s affordable housing goals, the area would require that up to 20% of the building’s residential square footage be devoted to affordable housing. The final SAP can be viewed on the Engage DC webpage. A public roundtable before the Committee of the Whole to discuss the “2022 Chevy Chase Small Area Plan Approval Resolution” will be held on July 5 at 11:00 a.m. Following approval of the SAP, to create the new area, OP will draft and propose a zoning amendment which will need to go through a public process and a hearing before the Zoning Commission.

Pennsylvania Avenue East Small Area Plan

The Pennsylvania Avenue East Small Area Plan planning effort began in April 2021 with the stated goal of developing recommendations that enhance a safe, accessible, and vibrant public realm; encourage economic development and retail opportunities; improving transport access and connectivity; and boost socio-economic resilience. The SAP project is expected to be released in Winter 2022. Venable will provide updates on this effort as they become available.

North Capitol Crossroads

The North Capitol Crossroads planning effort was launched to develop a broader planning framework for the North Capitol Street, Irving Street and Michigan Avenue corridors and major properties like the Armed Forces Retirement Home, the Hospital Complex of Washington and the former McMillan Sand Filtration Site. This is an interagency effort that will build on previous planning initiatives in the area, including the North Capitol Cloverleaf Urbanization Study, which was completed by OP and the DC Department of Transportation to help imagine how the cloverleaf interchange at North Capitol and Irving Streets could be redesigned. There has been no further movement in this effort since the completion of the Cloverleaf Urbanization Study in 2021. Venable will provide updates on this effort as they become available.

Wisconsin Avenue Development Framework and Connecticut Avenue Development Guidelines

The Wisconsin Avenue Development Framework and Connecticut Avenue Development Guidelines are part of the larger Rock Creek West Corridor Planning Initiative, which aims to produce 1,990 affordable housing units in the area by 2025. OP states that the Wisconsin Avenue Development Framework will recommend zoning changes to provide additional housing capacity along the Wisconsin Avenue corridor in Friendship Heights and Tenleytown. In addition, this framework will guide a business action strategy for Friendship Heights and a public realm plan for the entire study area. The Connecticut Avenue development guidelines will focus on supporting additional housing in the Cleveland Park and Woodley Park neighborhoods while ensuring development is compatible with the character of the area’s established historic neighborhoods. As such, this planning effort will be a collaboration with OP’s Historic Preservation Office and Historic Preservation Review Board. Both initiatives are in the early stages of the planning process and do not yet have project timelines. Venable will provide updates on this effort as they become available.

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